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How long can I take pantoprazole?

Medically reviewed by Carmen Pope, BPharm. Last updated on May 10, 2022.

Official answer


You should only take pantoprazole for up to 8 weeks if you are buying it without a prescription or a physician evaluation of your symptoms. This is because certain stomach symptoms that persist for more than 4 to 8 weeks should be investigated by a doctor, as they may be a sign of something more serious, such as cancer. Pantoprazole is very good at relieving and hiding serious stomach symptoms, which may make you think you don’t need to see a physician. Long-term use of pantoprazole has also been associated with vitamin B12 deficiency; low magnesium, calcium, iron, or vitamin C levels; and an increased risk of fractures of the hip, wrist, or spine. Elderly, the malnourished, or those on dialysis are more at risk.

If you are taking pantoprazole that has been prescribed by your doctor, then there is no consensus or agreed definition about how long you should stay on pantoprazole, but for most people, it will be up to 8 weeks as well. Certain conditions, such as severe ulcers or reflux disease, may require treatment with pantoprazole for longer than 12 months, but if this has been prescribed by your doctor, then they can monitor you with blood tests and other procedures to reduce your risk of developing long-term side effects of pantoprazole. They can also run some tests to make sure you don't have a more serious condition.

When should I see a doctor instead of taking pantoprazole?

Certain symptoms or underlying factors put you in a high-risk category for more sinister conditions, such as gastric ulcers, gallbladder disease, or gastric cancer, which could be the real reason for your symptoms. Symptoms or factors of concern include:

  • age ≥50, or ≥40 years and of African, Hawaiian, Pacific, or Asian descent with stomach symptoms
  • have someone in your family who has, or has had, gastric cancer and was younger than 50
  • have symptoms that are severe, persistent, occur at night, or include an ongoing cough
  • have blood in your stools, or your stools look black or tarry
  • are vomiting regularly, or there is blood in your vomit
  • have difficulty swallowing or can feel a lump in your torso
  • have previously had a stomach ulcer or taken aspirin, NSAIDs, or prednisone
  • you seem iron deficient
  • have lost weight recently for no apparent reason.

See your doctor as soon as you can if any of these apply to you.

  • Calabrese C, Fabbri A, Di Febo G. Long-term management of GERD in the elderly with pantoprazole. Clin Interv Aging. 2007;2(1):85-92. doi:10.2147/ciia.2007.2.1.85
  • Gordon, Serena. Acid-Reflux Drugs & Lower Levels of Vitamin B-12 Web MD.,include%20Prilosec%2C%20Nexium%20and%20Prevacid.
  • Heidelbaugh JJ. Proton pump inhibitors and risk of vitamin and mineral deficiency: evidence and clinical implications. Ther Adv Drug Saf. 2013;4(3):125-133. doi:10.1177/2042098613482484

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